Category Archives: Matthew Jacob

B’s Beat: Injured Bruins Set To Make Return

ZDENO

The last week or so for the Boston Bruins has been dreadful on a variety of levels. As they sit at home licking their wounds following a brutal west coast trip, the Chicago Blackhawks are heading to town in what will likely be another beating if the B’s can’t get it together.

Injuries have dominated the team for nearly the entire season thus far, and the team has struggled to stay afloat. While guys like Torey Krug and Kevan Miller have missed a few games here and there due to minor injuries, big fish like Zdeno Chara and David Krejci have missed nearly 17+ games apiece dealing with their ailments.

I know there are the tough guys out there who don’t like to make excuses for people, but any team would struggle without their number one center and number one defenseman. Would the Blackhawks still dominate without Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith? Would the Los Angeles Kings still be great without Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty? No, probably not.

Now before you go all crazy accusing of me of comparing those players to Krejci and Chara; I just want to make it clear that I am comparing these players’ importance to their team and nothing more. Obviously Toews is better than Krejci.

Fortunately for the B’s; both Chara and Krejci are practicing in full with the team, and it looks as if both could return to game action by the end of the week.

Read more

B’s Beat: The Merlot Line Continues To Struggle

DL_0126_campbell_paille_Goal

The Boston Bruins’ Merlot Line has been a sparkplug for the team for the better part of the last four seasons. The B’s struggled to create the perfect fourth line for a few years with guys like Stephane Yelle, Steve Begin, and Glen Metropolit at center, before making a trade with the Panthers for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell in 2010.

Obviously Horton was the big piece in that deal, but Campbell was more than just a simple throw in. He immediately brought stability to the line that turned into the best fourth line in the game. It could actually be argued that the rest of the NHL followed suit with their fourth lines after watching the B’s roll all four lines en route to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years against Vancouver.

I am not being so overly dramatic as to say they changed the game, but teams definitely took notice.

Shawn Thornton provided the brawn and energy for that line, Campbell was an all-around defensive guy with the occasional offensive flair, and Daniel Paille was a speedster with the ability to keep opposing defensemen honest. They just had unreal chemistry that you can’t teach.

So what happened to them?

Well for starters, the NHL is starting to trend away from the enforcer type guys like Shawn Thornton. The Bruins cut ties with the 37 year old winger last season and he signed with the Florida Panthers in the offseason. His character and leadership will clearly be missed, but his play on the ice was definitely beginning to show signs of wear.

I understand that it may be difficult for Paille and Campbell to have to adjust to him moving on, but I don’t believe for a second that his departure is affecting them as much as it seems. They also have a new linemate in Simon Gagne who is coming off of a full season of no NHL action.

Read more

B’s Beat: Seth Griffith Making The Most Of Opportunity With Bruins

seth griffith

One of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins this year, aside from consistency, is their inability to replace the void Jarome Iginla left when he decided sign with Colorado. Guys like Iggy obviously don’t grow on trees, which is why it was nearly impossible to replace him in free agency



style="display:inline-block;width:728px;height:90px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-0701776857259407"
data-ad-slot="6558967759">

Hell; even if there was a guy like him available in free agency, it isn’t like they could afford it given their terrible salary cap situation. Who am I kidding?

In the offseason; the B’s were essentially forced to plan on giving a shot to the underrated Loui Eriksson, who underwhelmed in his first season in Boston due to two significant concussions. It wasn’t ideal for the team to break up the Loui and Carl Soderberg connection, but they really didn’t have a choice.

That was until the team stumbled out of the gate, the Soderberg line was the only successful line, and they proved that their chemistry was too good to split up.

This development left the B’s back at square one with the Krejci line, right wing problem. They tried plugging Ryan Spooner as that team’s center to no avail, Matt Fraser had an opportunity to step in and earn himself a spot, but he underwhelmed.

It was at this point that the Bruins called up diminutive winger Seth Griffith from Providence.

Griffith was a fifth round for the Bruins in 2012. He played his OHL career with the London Knights from 2009 to 2013 and amassed 102 goals, 129 assists, and a +36 in 207 games. He was also a stellar playoff weapon for the Knights with 26 goals, 36 assists, and a +18 in 56 games. Griffith was also part of the team when they won back-to-back OHL Championships in 2012 and 2013.

Read more

B’s Beat: Claude Julien’s Extension, David Pastrnak, And Injury Updates

claude-julien

The Boston Bruins signed Head Coach Claude Julien to a three year extension last Sunday. The moves come after a few days of speculation from various media members around the hub. While it is unclear as to whether or not he had another year left on his deal or not, the B’s were wise to avoid leaving Julien as a “lame duck”.

Julien is the longest tenured coach in the NHL aside from Detroit’s Mika Babcock, who himself may be with a new team next season. I believe it’s a good move for the team, as Julien has really brought a winning system to the team, while also creating its identity. Sometimes a coach’s voice can fall silent after many years with a team (see Barry Trotz), but he has done well in keeping the team hungry and competitive over the last 5-6 years.

The former Jack Adam’s winner has a career record with the B’s of 318-171-65, a Stanley Cup with the team in 2011, and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in this year’s Sochi Olympics.

The extension is expected to run through the 2017/18 season, though it unclear as to how many years he had left on his current contract as said above.

Read more

B’s Beat: Injuries On Bruins’ Back-End

davis_bbnyi3_spts

With the injury to Torey Krug being announced just days ago, the Bruins now find themselves without three defensemen from their opening day roster. It’s been quite the roller coaster for the B’s, as they’ve had to manage a poor start while coping with the preseason trade of Johnny Boychuk.

Yes, I still believe it had to be done.

If you’re going to be critical of the Bruins’ front office for moving Boychuk now, in wake of these injuries on the back-end, I would advise you to save your breath. Obviously the trade looks really bad now, but all of these injuries are unlucky if anything. You can’t predict the frequency and severity of these ailments regardless of your disdain for Peter Chiarelli.

It’s also redundant to keep talking about a guy who isn’t a Bruin anymore.

Zdeno Chara’s injury was obviously the most brutal pill to swallow. He’s an aging player which obviously hurts his ability to recover at a quicker pace, despite being the freak athlete that he is. Z is also the most important player on the team’s defense for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the powerplay, penalty kill, massive minutes every night and presence on and off the ice; the Bruins do not have a player that can fill his shoes for any length of time.

Fortunately, he’s only going to be out 4-6 weeks.

His injury had the potential to be a blessing in disguise given the fact that it would’ve allowed some of the younger Bruins’ defensemen to play bigger minutes and develop into larger roles with the team. It also would’ve allowed the big man to rest up in an effort to avoid burning out come playoff time. Unfortunately the injuries to Kevan Miller and Torey Krug have all but dampened those hopes, as the team has found itself substantially shorthanded for one of the most important months of the season.

Read more

B’s Beat: Chris Kelly’s Outstanding Start

Chris Kelly

Last night was another reminder of a trade prior to the beginning of the season, in which a beloved fan favorite Johnny Boychuk, was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for 3 draft picks. Though the trade needed to be done to free up sufficient cap space; it still left a bitter taste in the mouth of every single Bruins fan.

“Why didn’t they just trade Chris Kelly”? They said, “Matt Bartkowski sucks, why not him”?



style="display:inline-block;width:728px;height:90px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-0701776857259407"
data-ad-slot="5889596958">

It’s essentially the same pissing and moaning I have grown accustomed to from a continually spoiled Boston sports fan.

While I have a “take him or leave him” attitude with Bartkowski, I can’t say the same about Chris Kelly. Whether or not you like him, you can’t deny that he has far and away been the best player on the B’s so far this season.

Through all 8 of the B’s games so far this season; Kelly has 2 goals, 7 assists, and a +4. He is currently tied for the team lead with David Krejci. Yes, Krejci’s only played 6 games this season and put up the same numbers, but I expect that from a number one center. Kelly is a third line winger/center on this team, and typically plays a more defensive role. He leads all forwards on the team with an average of 2:18 minutes of shorthanded time per game, and has seen literally seen 40 seconds of powerplay time all season.

Read more

« Older Entries